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Tenant stalls a building project by asking developers for fair compensation: 'Where am I going now?'

The tenant, who has experienced eviction and homelessness in the past, seeks stability and affordable housing.

Tenant stalls a building project by asking developers for fair compensation: 'Where am I going now?'
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mathias Reding

The advancement of modernization has undoubtedly brought numerous advantages to the human race. Development might be publicized as a process benefiting the city, but at times we have to question its impact. This has often led to builders making profits that are never shared with civilians. Development generates millions but conventional rules clearly suggest that tenants must only expect settlements.

This settlement has been normalized by social norms which have been formulated keeping in mind the interest of the Rich. The CTV News report, sourced from The Canadian Press, highlights the story of Carla White, a tenant in Montreal.

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Mikael Blomkvist
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Mikael Blomkvist

The report raises an important and thought-provoking question: Should tenants settle for socially-acceptable agreements or should they demand more from builders who stand to make millions from the project?

For the last 10 years, White has called her yellow-and-pink apartment her home but the last two years have been filled with uncertainty regarding how long White could remain attached to her home because of the forthcoming 176-unit condo project in her locality. The home means a lot to her as it provided her with the much-needed stability that she craved after years of dealing with eviction notices and homelessness.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Rodolfo QuirΓ³s
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Rodolfo QuirΓ³s

The apartment by no measure is luxurious, it is small in area and does not have a lot of space. Most of the flooring is taken up by her bed and desk, but it is affordable at 400 dollars a month and gives White a place to return to after every day.

White knows for a fact that she cannot hold on to her home as the new wave of development is going to be a disastrous one for her. She shares her feelings by saying, "I look out there and say, where am I going now?" However, in the midst of all these uncertainties White wants to take an informed decision that prevents her from going back to the situation of homelessness that she found herself in before coming across this apartment.

Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel
Image Source: Pexels | Maarten van den Heuvel

White like many other low-income earners is facing a serious impact in terms of housing from gentrification and development. According to the approval provided by the City-demolition committee, it is essential that the builders must reach an agreement with the tenants. White is adamant that she is not going to leave until and unless she gets a home that gives her the stability that she wants on her own terms and makes sure she is not rendered homeless.



 

The site would be developed by Mondev, which even before the approval by the Committee was trying to reach a settlement with White for at least three to four years. The company also said that she had rejected the $20,000 that was initially offered to her and instead demanded a penthouse as well as a settlement of $50,000. The rejection of her demands according to White's lawyer is a case of Class-conflict. It seems unlikely that developers who can potentially earn millions off the project cannot fulfill her demands. Moreover, the demands should be in accordance with White's desires and not the comfort of the builders.

Image Source: Pexels | Photo by 
Yury Kim
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Yury Kim

White's lawyers state that the demands put forth by White are simple, she wants a house with affordable rent for at least five years or she wants money that can ensure her having affordable housing for that amount of time. Though the developers have offered White a house she was not satisfied with it, as she believed it did not fulfill her conditions. She is also against the settlement of $20,000 when rents are now within the range of 1400 to 1700 dollars.



 

"How far will $20,000 go (at) $1,600 a month?" White said. "I will be evicted within a year. I will be out on the roads." The Chairman of the demolition committee, Robert Beaudry that put forth this condition of the agreement states that such a condition is nothing new. The Rights of Tenants have always been a priority for the Law. The committee through attaching such a condition just wanted to make sure that Tenants feel safe and know that the committee shares their concerns.



 

Beaudry has no idea what will happen if the agreement does not happen between the two parties. The parties are set to discuss their issues in front of Quebec's administrative housing tribunal. White's lawyer does not think that a ruling can be imposed on the client by the Body and things might reach Quebec Superior Court. The information provided by White's lawyer suggests that two more people have filed appeals in regard to the decision taken by the demolition committee.